I see myself in Moses, and in Gideon, arguing with God. “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh?,” asks Moses. “How shall I save Israel? My family is the poorest, and I am the least,” said Gideon. And to both God says, “I will certainly be with thee.” After that argument-ending statement by God they both still argue. “They won’t listen to me. I’m not a good speaker.” “Oh, Lord, give me a sign.” God replies to Moses: “Who made man’s mouth? I will be with your mouth and teach you what to say.” To Gideon He gives signs. And still they struggle with the apparent, the seen, the contradiction of a weak humanity that is told to go and do great things.
Even more familiar, yet strange, is to see Deity make concessions to their weakness and arguing.
Their faith-struggle came from being beaten down, from having their natural faith in themselves put to death. Murder brought the proud Moses, raised in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, to the backside of the desert. This man who thought he could deliver Israel singlehandedly by his own devices had to be hidden, tending sheep for year after year. In Gideon’s days, the Midianites oppressed Israel seven years, and finally Gideon was reduced to hiding in order to thresh out enough wheat to barely get by.
They both started slow in their walk of faith. “But…but…but.” My life is mirrored in that. For years I followed, trusted, relied on, obeyed God in some ways. I said, “But this, but that,” in many others. I started slow. There is comfort in knowing the stories of Moses and Gideon.
But now their names resonate as God’s heroes of faith, rich with implication, full of years and meaning. Gideon, according to the end of Judges 8, may have fallen short of his revelation as a hero. But he is still given a mention in the hall of faith in Hebrews 11. How did Moses and Gideon jump from Alpha to Omega?
It was a process, yes. But the main attitude I see in them as they grow in faith is a blossoming disregard of circumstance for the solidity of Promise. God said it. I believe it, and I’m stepping out on the Word spoken. I say, “Whatever the circumstance, and my human perception of it, it can all go to hell if it contradicts the Word; God has spoken.”
Why did God use Moses and Gideon? Why did He persevere with men who argued with Him? They knew they were weak, helpless, unable. And only such men, hammered in the furnace of affliction, can give God the full credit. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,” saith the Lord.
Only in the knowledge of our weakness are we safe with God’s empowering.
So I see myself in Moses, and Gideon. I’ve wrestled, and sometimes still do. But I have a settled knowledge of my total weakness, my inability to be and do anything apart from God’s imparted, indwelling Divine Life in Christ.
And yet, “He is able, He is able, He is willing, doubt no more.” I’m to move from weakness to Strength. My ability or my upbringing or my circumstances never have to be the deciding factors. That makes me look forward to a future lit up with a sunrise of potential and possibility, of peril and rescue, of fathering and husbanding, of people and music, of intercession, of faithfully borne sorrows free of self-pity.
It is the sword of the Lord – and of Gideon – slicing through demonic lies, fears, oppression, and bondage to free captives after the clay jar is broken, revealing the Light that conquers and sets foes to flight.
Obedience has become just another word for trust.
Winner of 147 Grammys (or so), Ron Block is the banjo-ninja portion of Alison Kraus and Union Station. When he’s not laying down a bluegrass-style martial-arts whoopin’ on audiences around the world, he’s taking care of his donkey named “Trash” and keeping himself busy by being one of the most well-read and thoughtful people we know.